Nearly 400 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, and that number is expected to jump to almost 600 million by 2035, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
What Is Diabetes, How Is It Controlled and What Are The Complications?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot regulate or properly use sugar (called glucose) in the blood.
For many people, diabetes can be controlled with diet, exercise and, often, insulin or other drugs. However, complications from diabetes can be serious and include kidney failure, nerve damage, vision loss, heart disease and a host of other health issues.
Type 1 diabetes patients are given insulin to help them control their glucose levels.
These patients, however, often struggle to optimally balance their blood sugar and they need to monitor their blood sugar multiple times a day.
How Can Stem Cell Treatments Help Diabetes Patients?
A breakthrough stem cell transplant study is said to have ‘freed patients with type 1 diabetes of daily insulin injections.’
It said volunteers went, on average, for two and a half years without using the multiple daily injections normally needed to manage their condition.
These stem cell transplants apparently work by ‘resetting’ the immune system so that the body stops attacking the pancreas.
The study provides another avenue for research, but this treatment is still at an early stage of development and does come with some side effects and risk
Dr Iain Frame, research director of Diabetes UK, has emphasised that “this is not a cure for type 1 diabetes”.